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Thread: Helpful Hints for untrained and Novice Singers

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    Smile Helpful Hints for untrained and Novice Singers

    There is no magic carpet ride which is going to allow a singer to sing without some form of formal training, even the professionals-stars, the majority who last in the business have had vocal training of some kind. Yes, while there are rare exceptions who can open their mouths and it just comes out due to perfect pitch, they still have to hone their craft by seeking the counsel of a good, reputable voice coach who can get and achieve the desired vocal quality in a student. There can be a down fall to having perfect pitch in an untrained or beginning singer where there is no room for natural interpretation within the phrase of the music. often with an untrained or beginning singer who possesses perfect pitch while every note is traversed, it is done so mechanically with no natural intonation within the phrase which gives the phrase its voice composition, this is where the voice coach comes in and guides the student through all of the techniques needed to produce a quality interpretation of the composition.

    Other untrained and or begining students often have never learned how, what and why proper placement is important for developing quality intonation and functionality of voice as a singer. Often untrained and begining singers posses the problem of an untrained ear which doesn't allow them to fully understand what a quality singing voice should sound like, this understanding is achieved through work with a voice coach. Keep in mind, that just because an untrained or begining singer takes voice lessons there is no assurance of fame as a singer.

    The only assurance from taking voice lessons from a reputable vocal coach is that the singer will assure improvement in the quality of the voice. Be careful when selecting a voice coach, because there are some vocalists who are under the impression that they can teach voice, not every vocalist is capable of teaching voice. There was one such unreputable vocalist tried to deceive me into believing that she could teach classical voice and voice in general but she ended up being caught in the act. When I was in colleges years ago, while I was taking classical voice from a reputable classical voice coach/opera singer at the college; I was attending at the time who possessed a prestigious background who was still singing opera and asked to sing as a paid as a classical singer on the professional circuit.

    I hadn't decided whether to go into Jazz singing or stick with classical singing at the time. I had had enough classical vocal training at the time to sing Jazz in local venues, if I wanted too. So I set about auditioning Jazz singers to sing with, who I felt would be good contacts and fellow musicians to work with. There was one female Jazz singer who seemed like she might be a possibility for working with as a fellow musician where I could get my foot in the door to the Jazz singing venues. But she turned out to be everything but honest.

    While I couldn't fault this Jazz singers singing, she was definitely not a classical voice coach and never will be. During our initial meeting this same singer and I clearly discussed us meeting to work as a backup singer for background vocals for an upcoming music project that she was planning to do at a paying venue where I could also make some money for singing back up for her as well. Never once did she ever mention being a voice coach, let alone a classical voice coach nor did she ever mention that she gave voice lessons. I arrived at the appointed time to her music studio where she rehearsed and recorded CD"s.

    I came in, looked around and there was no music score for me to review to know what she had planned for this upcoming project. Next, this same singer demonstrated what backup vocals that she wanted me to sing so I echoed back the same backup phrases that she sang to me and she was impressed with my singing, with a smile on her face she told me so.Throughout the rehearsal session this same singer never once played her songs for this upcoming Jazz venue nor did she ever hand me copies of the sheet music for me to review and work on.

    During the rehearsal session this same singer would suggest that I take my voice into my throat which in her opinion would only enhance the quality of the background vocals, which is just the opposite of what my college classical professional opera singing voice coach had instructed me to do;whom I was taking classical voice with at the time and which when the voice is taken into the throat pinches off the vocal cords and a racking sound occurs causing callouses on the vocal cords and which produces a very strangled, horrible nasal sound that comes out-not not sounding pretty but more like a cat being strangled as well as being very destructive on the vocal cords. Next, this same singer told me to listen to all of my appliances and hum to them which is just nuts and out in space, funny but in all of my classical voice lessons with reputable voice coaches; I have never heard any of these same voice coaches say hum to all of your appliances.

    After an hour of rehearsal had gone by, I asked this same singer if she had the sheet music for me to look over so I could get started on the backup vocals and she said to me your voice lesson is over and that will be $10.00. My first thought was what nerve you have to charge me for working with you, you failed your audition with me. I replied back, you made it very clear that you needed a back up singer for this upcoming project and that I was that singer, now you are charging me for a voice lesson.

    This same singer whom I had just spent a rehearsal session with apologized for deceiving me and still insisted that she needed to be paid for her time. I informed her that I had an appointment and that I needed to leave, I proceeded to leave and left her standing there unpaid. I found her to be unorganized, very unprofessional, deceptive and underhanded as well as desperate for the almighty dollar.Too this day, I have no respect for this singer and in my opinion she never has been nor will she ever be a voice coach. Two weeks later, this same singer contacted me about getting together for another rehearsal session and I hung up the phone on her.

    Unfortunately there are singers like this who become desperate and try to take advantage of untrained, beginning singers just starting out, by pulling such stunts. Keep in mind that there are wonderful people who are singers, vocal coaches and musicians who are genuine that really give of themselves to others, those are the people worth knowing and the circles that a singer or musician should network with and if the selected prospective voice coach doesn't follow the singing lesson format mentioned in this article or pulls my college horror story routine of the singer desperate to make a buck supposedly turned want to be vocal coach with horrible technique not in a million years, run for the hills and don't pay them. My object with my college singing horror story is to inform and not to leave a bitter taste in anyone's mouth about vocal coaches and musicians as a whole.

    A good or great vocal coach will make it clear that you are taking a voice lesson. During the voice lesson your selected vocal coach will vocalize you on piano to find your range as well as seeing what your skill level is and where your voice is at. The vocal coach of your choice will assign warm ups which can be basic vocal eezes to more advanced Baci and Bel Canto's which is what any reputable voice coach should be teaching.A reputable voice coach will also give you a song choice selection that fits your range, experience level and traversability as well as throwing a little music theory in to the lesson which will help with learning to read and transpose classical repertoire and suggesting that you learn an instrument which will help with ear training as well as pitch improvement.

    While it is great that many, many individuals on this forum are trying to be helpful by giving often great advice to untrained or beginning singers the tendency is to forget that the individuals seeking advice are untrained or beginning singers who are still working on developing their skill as well as quality of voice, therefore it would be in the best interest of these beginning singers to advise them to seek out a reputable voice coach who can explain to the more novice singer how and what should be happening in technique and placement as well as voice quality that the voice coach is hearing and seeing.

    Even having four years of formal classical vocal opera training from accredited colleges as well as continuously performing classical repertiore for the last three to four years and being selected to debut at Carnegie Hall as one of many chorale singers in an upcoming January benefit concert, I still advice that the novice and untrained singers on this forum work with a reputable voice coach who can effectively and correctly develop their voice. Unfortunately, novice and untrained singers who have only taken a few voice lesson or who have never taken voice lessons don't fully understand the proper placement concept due to lack of feeling where the placement should occur within the singers zone as I call it which comprises the mask, the torso, the throat and the face.

    For example, meaning where and how is the diaphragm placement occurring and what is the outcome that will help produce a rich, beautiful vocal quality, or the placing the sound into the mask and projecting it outward concept which should improve the richness of the vocal quality, etc.. as well as understanding what the proper vocal quality and intonation when traversing a composition should sound and feel like. The concepts that I have mentioned take many, many years to perfect and work with reputable voice coaches who can full develop these concepts over years of work as well as working with either a conservatory of music or a reputable college of music.

    Wish me luck everyone because even though I have had formal classical vocal training and I currently sing classical repertoire as well as being one of many chorale members selected to go to Carnegie Hall for a benefit concert in January of this year. I will be going back to college to pursue my dream of training to be a classical/opera singer where I can hopefully once my training is through pursue a professional singing career. There are alot of hoops that I have to jump through in order to get into this school of music because they have a reputation for turning out great singers.

    There are a lot of requirements for me to meet, the audition for one where the music school board will look over my past achievements, my audition CD and who will determine if I make in and whether I will be eligible for scholarships and grants which are available to singers applying to this school of music. For one selection I have chosen Shubert's Ave Maria which is one of the most beautiful works that I have ever performed but I'm still working on the other performance selection. Fortunately, I have a year to do so before I apply to my chosen school of music.
    Last edited by Lyricsop; Oct-25-2010 at 19:59.

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